Switched outlets are a lifesaver. They allow you to use an extension cord without having to worry about tripping over it or burning yourself.
However, they aren’t always convenient. If you want to use your switched outlet all day long, you might find yourself running out of power at inconvenient times, or also you could end up wasting a lot of energy if the power goes out.
Usually, standard outlets are wired so that they are always hot. Some are wired so that they can be switched on and off.
You might want to use a switched outlet sometimes, but it doesn’t always work out as planned. In these situations, you might find yourself wondering how to make switched outlet heat up all the time.
11 steps On How to Make a switched hot all the time
Step 1: Find Out the Type of Switch.
The first step if you want to make your switched outlet hot all through is to figure out which type of switch is in your outlet. The easiest way to do this is to look at the backplate of the outlet.
Suppose you see two prongs coming from the center hole. It means that if one side goes down, both sides will go down.
You’ll also notice that the wires going into the box have black stripes running through them. These are for the ground wire. A newer style single-pole switch has only one prong coming from the center hole.
Step 2: Turn Off Power Supply Switch
The next step is turning off the main circuit breaker for the house or apartment. It will prevent any electrical current from flowing through the wires in the wall and into the switched outlet.
You will need to do this by flipping the toggle switch located at the top right corner of the panel box.
Step 3: Disconnect Extension Cord from Outlet
Next, disconnect the plug end of the extension cord from the outlet. Then pull out the prongs so they don’t get damaged while you’re working inside the outlet.
Step 4: Remove Any Appliances or Devices from the Outlet
You can do so using either one hand or two hands, depending on what kind of device you have plugged into the outlet.
Step 5: Unscrew the Cover Plate
Use a screwdriver or pliers to remove the screws holding down the cover plate of the switched outlet. Once removed, lift the cover plate and pull back the metal prongs inside the box.
Also, check inside the box to ensure no screws were left behind. Remove any insulation around the wiring with a pair of needle-nose pliers.
Now take a good look at the wiring itself. It should consist of three conductors: red, white, and green. Each conductor should be insulated except for where it connects to the metal terminals.
Step 6: Connection
Now, connect each terminal to its corresponding color wire. For example, link the red wire to the red terminal. Then repeat this process for the other colors.
Make sure not to cross-connect the different colored wires together. Also, don’t forget to attach the bare copper grounding wire to the grounded terminal.
Step 7: Replace Cover Plate
Now replace the cover plate onto the outlet. Slide each tab until it snaps into position. Tighten the screws once again. Loose screws can prevent your switched outlet from starting hot.
Step 8: Reattach Plug End of Extension Cords
Reattaching the plug ends of the extension cords is a very important step in making your switched outlet hot all the time.
When pulling the plugs out earlier, you probably noticed how easily the plastic insulation came apart.
Now that you’ve replaced the cover plate, reconnect the plugs using only the bare wire itself. Do not touch the outer sheath of the cable.
Step 9: Test for Electrical Current Flow
After completing the above steps, test the switched outlet if it is hot—press one side of the outlet’s ground pin.
If no sparks appeared, then everything worked correctly. Or plug something like a hairdryer into the switched outlet.
If the switched outlet works appropriately, the hairdryer won’t get warm. If it gets too hot, however, replace the switch immediately.
Step 10: Reset Circuit Breaker and Return Home Safely
When you’re done testing, reset the circuit breaker by pressing its button. After doing so, flip the toggle switch back to “on” mode.
Finally, return home safely, knowing that you won’t trip over the plugged-in extension cord anymore, and your switched outlet stays hot all along even after a power blackout.
Step 11: Keep Track of What Switched Outlets You’ve Replaced
Write down their model number and serial numbers. Keep those records somewhere safe because replacing faulty switches could cost hundreds of dollars.
How To Fix an Outlet That Doesn’t Heat Up All the Time?
Step 1: The First Step is to Locate the Fuse Panel
Most homes come equipped with a fuse panel located near the main service entrance.
Open the door, find the fuse box, and look for the label marked “Fuse” then, locate the fuse labeled “Main” and pull it out. Replace it with a new one.
Next, shut off the power supply. First, disconnect the power cord from the utility source.
Then unplug the appliance plugged into the outlet. Third, close the circuit breaker. Fourth, wait 30 seconds before turning the power back on.
It will allow the electricity to flow through the system without interruption.
Step 2: Turn on the Power Supply Back
Wait about 10 minutes before reconnecting the power cord. Reconnect the appliance as usual. If the outlet continues to fail, follow the instructions below.
Step 3: Check the Fusible Linkage
First, double-check that the fuse has been installed correctly.
Check the orientation of the slot. Is it facing toward the center? Or, is it facing away from the center? Make sure that the place is aligned with the other slots.
Also, be careful when pulling the old fuse out. It might have some wires attached to it. Be very gentle so that you don’t damage anything.
Next, look at the wiring inside the receptacle. Does any wire appear loose, damaged, or worn out? Are they touching each other? These are signs that indicate that the switched outlet connection needs a repair.
It would help if you replaced them immediately.
If everything looks good, then proceed to test the switch.
Step 4: Test the Switch
Now, remove the cover plate. Remove the screws holding the faceplate together.
Pull the faceplate apart. Now, flip over the switch. Can you see which way the contacts point? They should always be pointing towards the ground terminal. If this is true, then the switched outlet is ready to stay hot throughout.
However, if the switch points to either side, it is not functioning correctly, and in this case, you must replace the switch.
Now, reassemble the faceplate. Screw the screws back in place. Turn the power back on. Test again. Hopefully, things worked out well.
That was easy! In just steps, you learned how to make switched outlets hot all the time and no need to worry anymore when the power goes off.
But remember, when installing outlets, always follow these safety precautions like turning off the power before installation and using protective gears, including eye goggles, ear muffs, long sleeves, pants, shoes, etc.
Finally, remember to label every single electrical device. It will help prevent future accidents. Good luck!